‘Players have to learn how to head the ball’

Asa Hall beats Matt Rhead of Boreham Wood to the header during the match between Torquay United and

Asa Hall beats Matt Rhead of Boreham Wood to the header during the match between Torquay United and Boreham Wood at Plainmoor on Saturday, November 14. Photo: Dave Crawford/PPAUK - Credit: Dave Crawford/PPAUK

A limit could be considered, but players must still practise heading for their own good, says Torquay United manager Gary Johnson amid the latest football-dementia debate.

Johnson, 65, said: “The balls are much lighter nowadays, and they’re made of different materials.

“In my day, clubs had a ball hanging from the roof, and players, especially centre-halves, could sometimes head it a hundred times in a day – that doesn’t happen any more.

“Very young kids don’t head it often anyway because they can’t get the ball off the ground that much.

“But as they get older, you’ve still got to coach how to head the ball, but maybe limit the number they do. Otherwise, what happens when they have to head it in matches?

“Yes, they need to do the studies, but there’s millions of people who have never headed a ball in their lives who, sadly, still suffer from dementia.”

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